2013 September 23 Monday
Attempt To Close Test Score Gap Corrupting Teachers

Read Olivia Blanchard's piece in The Atlantic: I Quit Teach for America: Five weeks of training was not enough to prepare me for a room of 20 unruly elementary-schoolers..

Id been at TFA training, about to head into this system, when the official report on the cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public Schools was released. My immediate reaction was shock that so many teachers could be complicit in something so outrageously dishonest. Midway through the school year, though, I came to understand exactly how it had happened. APS has some of the best teachers in the country, but surviving in the district means covering yourself, and during standardized testing this means ensuring objective success. In a top-down, ruthless bureaucracy like APS, teachers are front-line foot soldiers, not educators encouraged to pursue their calling.

That article takes you as close to reality as The Atlantic is inclined to get. Which is to say, you'll be on a delusion ocean liner streaming along a few miles off the coast of reality with some of the features of the coast line pointed out. Not deeply lost at sea. But not at dock in a reality port town either.

If you want a stronger dose of reality then read What causes the achievement gap? The Voldemort View and Achievement Gap Politics.

When I was younger, much more ignorant, and did not realize how much adults did not care about the truth I would have found the disconnect between empirical reality and consensus reality an enormous shock if I'd come to discover it all at once. But the process of having the mythologies of my youth stripped from my mind has played out over many years. I rather wish I'd figured out the extent of the mythologies and webs of lies and deceit much sooner.

Update: TFA sounds like it serves a few purposes:

  • A way to signal strong faith. Anyone who goes for TFA is saying they are devout Tabula Rasa believers.
  • A way to build faith. Put yourself in conditions guaranteed to stir doubts among the rational. Can you police your thoughts? Will your learned mantras silence any doubts?
  • A way to build up a network of contacts among the strongest in faith.

Once the cost of genetic sequencing gets low enough to reveal all the genetic causes of differences in academic achievement I wonder what the smarter faithful will make of it. Double down in faith? Adopt a new faith? What new faith?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 September 23 09:07 PM 


Comments
Abelard Lindsey said at September 24, 2013 8:51 AM:

Its like a mantra in a meditation session:

"We must close the Gap. We must close the Gap. We must close the Gap...".

Abelard Lindsey said at September 24, 2013 9:07 AM:

and did not realize how much adults did not care about the truth

Randall,

You have to remember that most liberals have the emotional maturity of 6 year old children (conservatives are like paranoid 12 year-olds, but thats a discussion for another day). They want to believe in their fairy-tale fantasies no matter how much reality rudely intrudes into their lives. They will do anything they can to maintain their fantasies. The problem is that in some places such as California, they have few children and are aging, and are being replaced demographically by a people who are significantly different from them. This will be hard for them to deal with in the future. Their millennial offspring are probably even more delusional then their parents, and are definitely not having kids of their own. They will not be a pretty ending to this story.

Han Finjan said at September 28, 2013 8:31 AM:

Get real. Government programs exist in order to grow and spin off more government programs. The particulars don't really matter so much.

Sure TFA is doomed from the womb, but it's got the official seal of approval from the US Education Dept.

Kind of like the $1 trillion + per year phantom dollar stimulus the US Gov has pumped into the economy every year since Mr. Obama's reyification. It looks real enough, and the recipients of mostly rich people who have spent it seem to like it, but the country as a whole has only gotten worse.

Big governments just keep getting bigger, and extend their control over more and more parts of society. It may be time for you to count the ways that you add to the problem.

Han Finjan said at September 28, 2013 8:36 AM:

Get real. Government programs exist in order to grow and spin off more government programs. The particulars don't really matter so much.

Sure TFA is doomed from the womb, but it's got the official seal of approval from the US Education Dept.

Kind of like the $1 trillion + per year phantom dollar stimulus the US Gov has pumped into the economy every year since Mr. Obama's reyification. It looks real enough, and the recipients of mostly rich people who have spent it seem to like it, but the country as a whole has only gotten worse.

Big governments just keep getting bigger, and extend their control over more and more parts of society. It may be time for you to count the ways that you add to the problem.


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